Marion Crane

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Psycho character
Marion Crane
Gender Female
Born: November 4, 1927
Died December 12, 1959
(32 years old)
Race Caucasian
Relationships Lila Crane (sister, deceased)
Sam Loomis (boyfriend & brother-in-law, deceased)
Mary Loomis (niece, deceased)
Portrayed by: Janet Leigh (Psycho)
Anne Heche (remake)

Marion Crane is a fictional character from the 1960 film Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Unhappy in her relationship with her boyfriend, a divorcee named Sam Loomis (John Gavin), Marion rejects his idea to take the afternoon off and rushes back to her storefront real estate office. Her boss, Mr. Lowery, arrives shortly afterward with Tom Cassidy (Frank Albertson), a wealthy customer who gives her $40,000 to put in the bank for him. However, instead of going to the bank, Marion impulsively goes on the run with the money. She turns off the main road without realizing it, and arrives at the Bates Motel and checks in with the proprietor, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who shyly invites her to have dinner with him. After wrapping the remaining money inside a newspaper, Marion overhears a heated argument between Norman and his "mother" about letting Marion into the house.

During dinner, Marion listens to Norman's tale of being trapped by his obligation to his mentally ill mother, and realizes that she, too, is stuck in a "private trap", and can only escape it by taking responsibility for stealing the money. She gently suggests to Norman that he put his mother in a mental hospital, which he heatedly refuses to do. She bids him goodnight, and returns to her room. There, she undresses while Norman watches through a peephole hidden in the wall of his office. Resolving to make amends to her employer, Marion makes a few calculations based on how much the escapade has cost her. She then takes a shower. Suddenly, a mysterious figure enters the bathroom — shadowy through the shower curtain — and stabs Marion to death. Believing his mother has committed the murder, Norman hides the body in a tar pit.

Creation and filming[edit]

Janet Leigh, who portrayed Marion in the original film, has said that when he cast her, Hitchcock gave her the following charter: "I hired you because you are a talented actress! I will only direct you if A: you attempt to take more than your share of the pie, B: you don't take enough, or C: if you are having trouble motivating the necessary timed movement."

According to Leigh, wardrobe worn by her character Marion Crane was not custom made for her, but rather purchased "off the rack" from ordinary clothing stores. Hitchcock wanted female viewers to identify with the character by having her wear clothes that an ordinary secretary could afford.

Contrary to a widely told tale, Hitchcock did not arrange for the water to suddenly go ice-cold during the shower scene to elicit an effective scream from Leigh. This urban legend appears to have originated with Universal Tour guides as they passed the "Psycho" house, one of the most popular attractions on the lot. Leigh said that the crew took great care to keep the water warm, and filming of the scene took an entire week.

Hitchcock tested the shock value of Mother's corpse by placing it in Leigh's dressing room and listening to how loud she screamed when she discovered it there.

The trailer was shot after completing the movie, and because Leigh wasn't available anymore, Hitchcock used costar Vera Miles in the shower sequence in the trailer.

Leigh wore moleskin adhesive patches covering her nipples when she acted out the shower scene. However, after the warm water of the shower washed off the moleskin, Hitchcock still did one more take. The take was used in the finished film.

Appearances in the rest of the series[edit]

Psycho's first sequel, 1983's Psycho II, starts off with a flashback to the shower scene. Vera Miles returns as Marion's sister, Lila Crane, now Lila Loomis, who is on a crusade to keep Norman committed. The film introduces Mary Loomis (Meg Tilly), Lila's daughter with Sam and Marion's niece. Both are killed in the film; Lila is stabbed while in Norman's fruit cellar by a woman who looks like him in his "Mother" guise (later revealed to be Emma Spool, played by Claudia Bryar), and Mary is shot by a policeman when she attempts to stab Norman, thinking he killed Lila and the other victims in the film.

In the second sequel, 1986's Psycho III, the shower scene appears again in a flashback again, this time when Norman sees a woman (Maureen Coyle, played by Diana Scarwid) that reminds him of Marion.

Marion makes no appearance in the final sequel, 1990's made-for-TV Showtime film Psycho IV: The Beginning. She is merely referred to a few times as "the girl he killed in the shower."

Comic books[edit]

Marion appears in the 1992 three-issue comic book adaptation of the first Psycho film released by Innovation Publishing.

Portrayals[edit]

Janet Leigh played the character of Marion in the original film. Anne Heche played Marion in the 1998 remake. Scarlett Johansson portrays Janet Leigh during the filming of Psycho in Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren.

External links[edit]